The Calgary Flames hope for improvement from their special teams when they begin a season-high seven-game homestand against the Dallas Stars on Friday. The Flames are just 3-for-27 with the man advantage over their last seven games and have allowed six power-play tallies - two in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to red-hot St. Louis - in the last four contests to slip back to .500.
“When you’re playing back-to-back (games), your penalty kill has to be better,” Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan told reporters after his team lost for the third time in four games. “Our penalty kill quite frankly doesn’t look anything near what it should, and we’ve got to clean that area up because (on Wednesday) it put us in a hole, and we couldn’t get out of it.” Mike Smith, who sat out for the first time in a Flames uniform on Wednesday, is expected back in net against the team with which he made his NHL debut. The Stars have allowed 10 goals while losing their last two contests after coughing up a lead in the third period of a 5-4 defeat at Edmonton on Thursday. Captain Jamie Benn scored twice to take over the team lead of seven goals for Dallas, which is 19-for-19 on the penalty kill over its last six contests.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), Sportsnet 360 (Calgary)
ABOUT THE STARS (5-5-0): Big-ticket free-agent signing Alexander Radulov finally paid some big dividends, producing a goal and two assists on Thursday to push his season total to seven points. Benn leads the team with 13 points while Tyler Seguin (11) and defenseman John Klingberg (10) each notched an assist against the Oilers to give Dallas three players in double figures. The Stars will need more from Martin Hanzal (one goal, minus-9 rating) and the versatile Jason Spezza, who notched his fourth assist versus Edmonton but has yet to score a goal.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (5-5-0): Mikael Backlund scored twice in Wednesday’s loss to double his goal total for the season and move within one of Sean Monahan for the team lead, while Matthew Tkachuk has recorded a tally and two assists in his last two contests. Johnny Gaudreau has scored just twice this season and is fifth on the team in shots (24) but leads with 10 assists and 12 points. Smith is off to a solid start (5-4-0, 2.49 goals-against average, .928 save percentage) after stopping 28 shots in the 3-2 shootout victory over Nashville on Tuesday.
1. Calgary entered Thursday 28th in the league in scoring at 2.4 goals per game while allowing an average of three tallies.
2. Dallas is 1-4-0 on the road, allowing 22 goals in the process, but is 6-for-15 on the power play away from home.
3. The Flames have won five of their last seven meetings with the Stars, including the last two of 2016-17.
PREDICTION: Flames 5, Stars 3